Poems of Meng Jiao
Saying goodbye to Han Yu in Bianzhou
Don't drink that muddy water.
It's always stagnant here by the Bian.
But you can sit on the bank and watch
The river return to die in the ocean waves.
You've hardly been at home all year.
It's bad that I'm accustomed to these partings.
A distant wanderer, alone and haggard, as
Spring's flowers swirl down around him.
Bian River rushes round its bends like a
Wild mulberry without even one straight branch.
But as for noble upright hearts,
I admire none so much as yours.
I know I've said it before. But keep in mind that when people say goodbye in the Tang, they know they may never see each other again. The West has had its periods where life was precarious. But the West built emotional walls against the dying. It never embraced its own humanity the way these poets did. 送 means to escort your guest out the gate, and then down to the nearest inn for more wine, and then to the river for a last look at the moon and another glass and a final embrace. Seeing each other again after that must have been wonderful.